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Stage Diretions for Productions of Othello

            The stage directions at the beginning of the extract indicate the entrance of Othello and Iago while Desdemona is still on stage together with Cassio. The entrance of the two characters establishes an atmosphere of tension amongst the members of the audience, who are already aware of Iago's plan to convince Othello of a love affair and make him observe Cassio pleading to Desdemona. None of the characters besides Iago are aware of this plan so dramatic irony is being established as well, since only the audience and Iago himself are aware of the significance of this setting, as it will facilitate the progression of Iago's plan. It is clear that Iago realizes the importance of this moment and begins to capitalize on it when, after Cassio quickly exits out of shame and guilt, Iago remarks, 'Ha! I like not that,' in order to make Othello comment on the situation. The audience thus marvels at Iago's guile and presence of mind while at the same time begins to feel sorry for Othello as he is once more ensnared in Iago's scheme. Furthermore, a strong sense of anticipation is created within the audience as they now expect that Othello will indubitably fall prey to Iago's cunning. This feeling is further accentuated when Othello asks Iago is the person who just left Desdemona was Cassio, to which Iago replies, 'Cassio, my lord? No, sure, I cannot think it, That he would sneak away so guilty-like, Seeing you coming.' The audience here cannot help but marvel at Iago's masterful deception and the highly subtle manner in which he seems to insinuate Cassio's guilt, making his exit seem suspicious to Othello, thus establishing the foundation upon which his plan shall be constructed. The dramatic irony is rife in during this lines and throughout the extract as everything will seem to be playing out in accordance with Iago's plan, and no one save Iago and the audience will be aware of this fact.

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